THINGS NOT SEEN and Other Stories by Lynna Williams

THINGS NOT SEEN and Other Stories

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A first collection of nine stories notable for a couple of fictions about the daughter of a preacher; otherwise, Williams offers a well-done but familiar mixture of stories about troubled marriages or the aftereffects of divorce. The first story, ""Afghanistan,"" concerns the disappearance of a sportswriter's wife after he tries, but fails, to admit an infidelity to her. ""Personal Testimony"" is a striking tale set in the early 60's about a preacher's daughter who writes, or ""handcrafts,"" testimonials for fellow campers at a Bible retreat before admitting her transgression at a big sawdust-and-Jesus tent revival attended by her father. ""Rescue the Perishing,"" likewise, takes a similar character and convincingly pisces her in the home of a transplanted New Yorker (and his adult son) whom she intends to save. The ensuing, and surprising, revelations are moving and brilliantly executed. Of the rest, the title story is a delicate portrait of a marriage under strain because the wife is in therapy related to past abuse: ""Women who have been abused may grow up to marry abusers,"" the therapist says in a joint session, and that idea becomes so real that the very fabric of the marriage is threatened. ""Sole Custody,"" also noteworthy, is about a divorced woman who flies to Chicago with the idea of kidnapping her exhusband's young daughter because he has decided that that daughter is the reincarnation of Katie, who died of cancer and thus brought about the divorce; instead, the woman learns to reclaim her memories. The remaining stories are undistinguished takes on divorce. A debut collection, then, that delivers several gems among the paste.

Pub Date: May 6th, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: "Little, Brown"